North America chem rail traffic rises

North America chem rail traffic rises

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical rail traffic rose for a third consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 2 September up 7.4% year on year to 47,935, according to Association of American Railroads.

For the first 35 weeks of 2023 ended 2 September, North American chemical rail traffic was down 1.9% year on year to 1,586,547 loadings - with the US down 3.3% to 1,090,574.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic rose for a third straight week as increases in Canada and Mexico narrowly offset a 2.6% decline in the USA. For the first 31 weeks of 2023 ended 5 August, North American chemical rail traffic was down 2.4% year on year to 1,401,493 - with the US down 3.7% to 964,646 loadings.

Switch to recycled polymers, says Axion Polymers

Switch to recycled polymers, says Axion Polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Businesses across all industries should embrace recycled polymers as a vital tool in achieving their sustainability goals, says Manchester, UK-based plastics recycler Axion Polymers, said Sustainableplastics.

Using recycled raw materials to make new goods can be an important step with significant impact for manufacturers looking to move towards net zero and comply with industry regulations and laws.

Axion produces a range of Axpoly recycled polymer grades that are manufactured in the UK to ISO9001 quality standards and are REACH and RoHS compliant. Its engineering polymers are suitable for use in a range of injection moulding applications, from vehicle components to consumer electronics and construction products. The company also boasts laboratory facilities enabling the in-house material testing of its recycled polymer infeed and finished products. Axpoly recycled polymer grades comply with permitted levels of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Using Axpoly PP gives an 81% carbon saving and using Axpoly ABS gives a 90% carbon saving, compared with using virgin polymer.

Using these materials will allow manufacturers to comply, for example, with the new regulation proposed in the EU, aimed at improving the circularity of materials in vehicle manufacture. This regulation mandates that 25% of the plastic used to build a new vehicle is recycled plastic, of which 25% must be recycled from end-of-life vehicles.

Axion Polymers has a secure infeed material supply from its parent company S. Norton Group. The company uses process technology which converts non-metallic waste from end-of-life vehicles and waste electronic goods into recycled plastics, aggregates for construction, and alternative fuels supplying to energy from waste plants. The Group operates two processing plants in the Manchester area, with primary sorting taking place at Trafford Park and polymer refining and extrusion at Salford.

"At S. Norton Group, we’re proud our processes showcase how plastic waste can be harnessed to create valuable new products thereby conserving precious resources, reducing dependence on landfill and protecting the environment from greenhouse gas emissions,” said Laura Smith, commercial manager - polymers and co-products, Axion Polymers.

Tony Hayer, S. Norton managing director, added that “At a time of great change in the plastics industry, when businesses are facing mounting pressure to adopt circular practices and reduce their environmental footprint, using recycled polymers has plenty of benefits, including reduced demand for oil-based virgin polymer and significant carbon savings.”

Axion Polymers will be exhibiting at this year’s Interplas, 26-28 September 2023 at NEC, Birmingham, in Hall 4 stand A8.

We remind, Avantium, a pioneer in the emerging renewable and sustainable chemicals industry, is building a new plant that will support the transition to bio-based plastics to replace ones that rely on fossil-based raw materials.
Located in Delfzijl, The Netherlands, the facility will use a novel technology that converts plant sugars into a next-generation plastic material called polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

New Study Reveals that Sweat may Leach Flame-retardant Chemicals from Microplastics

New Study Reveals that Sweat may Leach Flame-retardant Chemicals from Microplastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A new study at the University of Birmingham shows human sweat has been found to leach toxic chemicals out of microplastics and are potentially making them available to be absorbed through skin, said Specialchem.

The team looked at microplastics taken from common forms of plastic and tested them with a synthetic sweat in a lab. They analyzed the bio accessibility of brominated flame retardants (a class of chemical used to improve the performance of plastics) after microplastics have come into contact with sweat.

These found that in all examples, the toxic chemicals leached out of the plastic particles and as a result, these chemicals may be absorbed through layers of skin.

The paper, published in Environmental Science and Technology found that polyethylene microplastics were the worst for bio accessibility of the flame-retardant chemicals which have been previously found in animal studies to cause adverse health effects including neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity and cancer.

Dr Ovokeroye Abafe, Marie-Curie Research fellow at the University of Birmingham and first author of the paper said, “The study provides new insights into the risk that arises from our exposure to microplastics in daily life. Our skin is constantly exposed to microplastics either through our clothing, cosmetics, indoor and outdoor dust particles, or even from the air.”

“We have shown the first experimental evidence that toxic additive chemicals can leach out from microplastics to our sweat and become available for absorption through the skin. This raises concern over potential adverse effects of these chemicals, including endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, obesity, and cancer”, Dr Abafe concluded.

We remind, LANXESS has doubled its production capacity for benzyl alcohol at its site in Kalama, WA, US, to support the growth of its established customer base in the Americas. The capacity expansion is the result of various technical upgrades. LANXESS also produces benzyl alcohol at its sites in Krefeld-Uerdingen (Germany), Botlek (Netherlands), and Nagda (India).

INEOS and SINOPEC sign second Joint Venture to produce ABS in China

INEOS and SINOPEC sign second Joint Venture to produce ABS in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On the 30th August, INEOS and SINOPEC signed a shareholder agreement for the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to build a new 300ktpa ABS plant in Tianjin, said the company.

The plant, which is currently under construction by SINOPEC, will be based on INEOS’ world-leading Terluran® ABS technology and is planned to come on stream in April 2025.

This is the second of three new-build ABS plants announced by both companies last year, each to be managed as a joint venture between INEOS Styrolution and SINOPEC. The first was the 600ktpa facility in Ningbo, which is planned to come on stream by the end of this year. The location of the third ABS plant is yet to be decided.

This announcement marks the continued progression of the significant petrochemical deals announced by the parties in July and December last year, and highlights the close relationship and growing collaboration between SINOPEC and INEOS.

We remind, INEOS has completed the formation of a 50/50 joint venture with SINOPEC for the Tianjin Nangang Ethylene Project, announced in December 2022, which is currently under construction by SINOPEC and expected to be on-stream by April 2024. The petrochemical complex includes a 1.2 mtpa cracker, a new 500ktpa High-Density Polyethylene plant to produce INEOS pipe grade under license and 11 other derivative units.

Saudi Arabia extends voluntary oil output cut of 1 MM bpd to end in 2023

Saudi Arabia extends voluntary oil output cut of 1 MM bpd to end in 2023

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia will extend its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million bpd for another three months until the end of December 2023, as per Reuters.

Oil prices rose sharply following the news of the Saudi cut extension, with Brent prices rising above $90 a barrel for the first time since Nov. 18.

The voluntary cut decision will be reviewed monthly to consider deepening the cut or increasing production depending on market conditions, SPA said, citing a Saudi energy ministry official.

The Saudi voluntary cut is on top of a previous production cut agreed by several producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with Russia and other allies known as OPEC+, in April that extends to the end of 2024.

Russia on Tuesday also extended its voluntary decision to reduce its oil exports by 300,000 bpd to the end of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on Tuesday. Moscow will also review the voluntary reduction monthly and may deepen it or raise it, Novak said.